Monday, April 8, 2024

Haggis and Tank Unleashed: All Paws on Deck by Jessica Young, illustrated by James Burks

Genre: Humor
Protagonists: Dogs, pronouns not defined
Series: Complete with three titles
Originally reviewed in 2016

Review: This new Branches series features two kooky dogs and the art of James Burks, author of Bird & Squirrel and other fun books.

Haggis the terrier is bored. Tank the Great Dane is not. Tank has lots of great ideas, including being pirates! She's sure it will be lots of fun, but Haggis isn't so sure. Using their imaginations and some creative recycling, the two set sail on a wild adventure.

There's a lot of wordplay in the text, which mostly takes a back seat to the colorful graphics. Burks' trademark square corners and surreal humor shine through in the wacky adventure and Young's silly dialogue and easy text make a good combination. The story is told mostly in comic style panels.

For Branches I'd say this is intermediate - it does not have a lot of text, but the combination of simple sentences and dialogue would confuse a beginning reader and the font is smaller than the average easy reader. The wordplay will also be challenging to a reader who is not fluent or doesn't have a decent vocabulary.

Verdict: Fans of Burks' Bird & Squirrel and kids who like funny books but aren't quite ready for full-length chapters will be the ideal audience for this. It would also make a fun read-aloud for younger children. Recommended.

Revisited: I was always sad that there were never more than three of these - I really enjoyed the collaboration between these two creators. However, all three are still available in paperback and prebound format and they continue to be popular, even though there are many more options for early graphics now. I still think they're worth purchasing if you missed them the first time around.

ISBN: 9780545818872; Published 2016 by Scholastic; Purchased for the library

1 comment:

Kate Unger said...

Sounds cute. I'll check it out for my 6 year old.